TWO local small business owners who handcraft gourmet spices in the Daintree Rainforest have signed the new lease for the Thornton Beach Café.

Douglas Shire Council handed the keys of the café to Daintree Spice Co. owners Jason Riches and Andrew Watson last week.

The pair were selected through a competitive tender process late last year.

Daintree Spice is renowned for six blends including Dukkah, Chilli Coconut Rub, Jungle Curry Powder, Lemon Myrtle Salt and Pepper, Smoky BBQ Rub and the Reef and Rainforest Rub.

Jason and Andrew are expecting the new fit-out to take about six weeks and said they were excited to start operating the café in March.

“This new menu will have an emphasis on seafood and spice blends but will also cater to current food trends and special dietary requirements,” Jason said.

“We have lived north of the river for almost two decades and have seen the cafe evolve over the years and are now looking forward to bringing our expertise to its next incarnation.”

Andrew completed his initial training at one of Melbourne’s top patisseries while Jason trained in kitchens off Four Seasons Hotels in London.

Since then, they have both cooked all over the world also owning and operating several restaurants within Australia.

Daintree Spice uses 100% natural ingredients sourced from sustainable plantations and use organic produce whenever available.

Vegetarians and vegans enjoy each blend; they are also gluten and lactose free.

Douglas Shire Council would like to thank the former lessees for years of dedicated service.

Mayor Julia Leu said the new lessees would focus on offering local produce.

“Daintree Spice Co bring a wealth of experience to this new venture and we look forward to seeing how they bring a new zing to café,” she said.